A little bit Indian and a little bit Italian is how I liked to describe myself growing up. Somewhere waaay down my family tree, my great great great… grandmama fell in love with a passionate Italian. And after learning about this in my tween years, I found it molto bene and used every opportunity to point out that I was not your average Indian girl!

Truth be told, I’m a whole lotta Indian and un poco Italiano but if you hear my little monkey say ‘mama’ or ‘scusi’  you’d think quite the opposite.

Tonight’s dinner and dessert is inspired by my lineage: Red lentils with brown rice followed by frozen Nutella bars.

I’ve been making both items for years, but red lentils with brown rice was a constant craving during my pregnancy not only because of its nutritional value but also because it’s the perfect comfort food. Thank goodness for that because I certainly wasn’t getting all the nutrients I needed from cupcakes, ice cream and watermelon.

I don’t find this dish to taste overly indian which is why I think everyone seems to enjoy it.

Here’s what you need (don’t be discouraged by the long list; it’s a cinch to make):

  • 1 tbsp oil (vegetable or canola)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups dried red lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter/margarine/spread
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tbsp jalapeno, minced (ribs and seeds removed) I use one whole jalapeno
  • 3 tbsp lemon or lime juice
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 1/2 cups brown rice, cooked
  • plain yogurt, as needed

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium high heat. Add chopped onion and saute for 5 minutes.

Add garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, turmeric and bay leaves and saute for 1 minute.

Add lentils, 3 cups water and salt. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 20 minutes or until lentils are tender. Discard bay leaves.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and add chopped green onions and jalapeno. Saute for 5 minutes and then add to lentils along with lemon juice, cilantro and garam masala.

Spoon lentils over brown rice. I’m using brown basmati rice but Uncle Ben’s brown rice or the like is just fine too. Top with plain yogurt. I’m using Fage 0% plain greek yogurt.

And now for some dolce and this really is as easy as can be!

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 1 1/2 cup milk (any kind will do)
  • Popsicle molds and sticks (even an ice tray and toothpicks will work)

Mix Nutella and milk really well. This can be done by hand or blender.

Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 4 hours. These were devoured so quickly I forgot to take a pic of the finished product. Trust me, they were molto delizioso!

Buon Appetito and Namaste!